The Houston Symphony brings its own holiday magic.
An American in Paris (1951) accompanies an ode to Gershwin.
Constantine Kitsopoulos conducts the Symphony through An American in Paris. (Photo Lisa Kohler)
Inon Barnatan will solo on the piano Mozart just in time for Thanksgiving.
Garrick Ohlsson plays Beeethoven in one of the Symphony's premier programs this holiday season.
Jeffrey Kahane lends a jazzy flair to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," just in time to ring in 2019.
Boyz II Men will perform with the Houston Symphony in January.
Don't miss Ella Fitzgerald's Songbook in time for Valetine's Day weekend, February 2019.
As we steadily march toward another holiday season, that, before you know it, will spell the start of a new calendar year, the Houston Symphony season is only gaining steam.
The 2018-19 Symphony season, which kicked off with with a record-breaking opening night concert and gala in September (click here for Shelby Hodge’s PaperCity coverage), is entering its magical holiday stretch as the final days of 2018 are in sight.
Andres Orozco-Estrada, in his fifth year as director, has situated himself comfortably in Houston as a smart, progressive force among the country’s symphonies, with his love and continued support of lesser known and new classical music, including some from living composers.
Let’s take a closer look at four of the Houston Symphony’s most exciting upcoming programs:
An American in Paris
The Houston Symphony and the music of George Gershwin unite this weekend as the Symphony will screen the 1951 MGM musical An American in Paris in conjunction with a live orchestra performance. The classic film, which won six Academy Awards including Best Picture, stars Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, telling the story of an Americna ex-soldier who falls in love with a Parisian woman.
It heavily features the music of George and Ira Gershwin, culminating in a 17-minute ballet choreographed by Gene Kelly himself, and contains the American standard, “I Got Rhythm.”
The score will be led by guest conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos, and the Symphony will perform as the movie plays.
Saturday, November 10 at 8 pm, and Sunday, November 11, at 7:30 pm at Jones Hall. For tickets and more info, click here.
A Mozart and Brahms Thanksgiving
There are few occasions better suited for the Symphony than the holidays and this season that remains true with Houston Symphony’s A Mozart and Brahms Thanksgiving, which runs from Friday, November 23 through Sunday, November 25.
Conductor David Danzmayr leads the Symphony through Mozart’s hallowed Piano Concert No. 22, written at the peak of his powers, featuring soloist Inon Barnatan on the keys. Following, Brahms’ final symphony, Symphony No. 4, rounds out the Thanksgiving program. Saturday and Sunday shows start at 8 pm, with Sunday’s show convening bright and early at 2:30 pm.
Ohlsson Plays Beethoven
Legendary pianist Garrick Ohlsson — who’s a Grammy Award winner and has performed for every major Symphony in the country, from Philadelphia to Boston, Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., and with the London Philharmonic to boot — lends his talent and vision to Beethoven’s longingly soulful Piano Concerto No. 3.
Then, Sir Edward Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 follows, conducted by the renowned Edo de Waart. Ohlsson Plays Beethoven promises to be a unique evening, with a lush solo piano rendition of Beethoven to a glistening, grand-scale Elgar Symphony.
Thursday, November 29, through Sunday, December 2. Showtimes vary. For more info, including tickets, click here.
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
Rounding out our four favorite picks, we end where we began — with Gershwin on the mind. Gershwin’s majestic, iconic Rhapsody in Blue is the headliner for a much-anticipated show that starts with a piano concerto by Ravel and stops for a meditation on themes by acclaimed ambient composer/rock musician Brian Eno.
But it’s Gershwin who will no doubt put backsides in seats, as his enduring Rhapsody in Blue comes to vivid life at the hands of conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, who lends a jazzy, French flair to the evening’s programming.
Running Friday, January 4, through Sunday, January 6, there will be no cooler, more refined, more enigmatic way to open the new year than inside the confines of Jones Hall for Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
Also on the Calendar…
Not to be missed, we look forward to the Symphony’s screening of the holiday classic Home Alone, Friday, December 14, at 7:30 pm, centered around the charismatic score from the master of cinema music John Williams, featuring the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Chorale… a powerful rendition of Handel’s Messiah, just in time for Christmas, from Friday, December 21, through Sunday, December 23… a Totally ’80s Pops night, featuring Nicole Parker (Wicked, Mad TV) and Aaron Finley (Kinky Boots, Rock of Ages), who will bring the audience the iconic new wave and pop hits of the 1980s featuring Cyndi Lauper, Sting, Elton John, and more. It gets underway Friday, January 11, through Sunday, January 13 … New Jack Swing and pop titans Boyz II Men perform with the Symphony Friday, January 18 … and Ella Fitzgerald’s Songbook, a perfect Valentine’s Day weekend treat, from Friday, February 15, through Sunday, February 17.
For more information on the Houston Symphony’s entire 2018-2019 season, how to buy tickets, and much more, click here.